Pesticides in fruits & vegetables: Govt quality mark fails test

Pesticides in fruits & vegetables: Govt quality mark fails test

A woman tends to her watermelons at her farm in Buri Ram province in March. (Bangkok Post file photo)
A woman tends to her watermelons at her farm in Buri Ram province in March. (Bangkok Post file photo)

57% of Q mark rated fruits, vegetables fail toxic chemical residue tests after samples sent to UK for testing. Expensive retailers do little better than wet markets.


Pesticides in fruits & vegetables: Govt quality mark fails test

Online Reporters

More than half of the vegetables and fruits awarded the government’s "Q mark" for quality were found to have harmful pesticide residue levels, according to a recent food safety study.

Cabbages and watermelons, often regarded as pesticide - contaminated, turn out to be safe to eat.

The results were announced by the Thai- Pesticide Alert Network (Thai-PAN), which tested 138 samples of popular fruits and vegetables in Greater Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Ubon Ratchathani during March 16-18.

Some wet markets are wet in more ways than one.


The network sent the samples for testing at a lab in the United Kingdom which used a  multi-residue pesticide screen testing method to examine for 450 chemical residues.

The overall results showed that 46.6% of samples contained residues higher than the accepted safety standard level, according to Prokchol Ousup, a Thai-PAN coordinator.

Notably, 57.1% of fruits and vegetables granted the “Q mark” by the National Bureau of Agricultural Commodity and Food Standards, were to be found contaminated at unsafe levels.


25% of the products certified as being organic, which were supposed to be free of chemicals, were found to contain chemical residues exceeding the accepted standards.


The network said that fruits and vegetables collected from modern trade outlets (hypermarkets & high-quality stores in malls) where consumers pay higher prices did not have much higher safety standards than those in wet markets, with 46% of produce from modern trade shops containing residues exceeding the standards, compared with 48% from fresh markets.

Residues of 11 prohibited substances were also found in the samples.


In breakdown, 100% of red chilli had harmful residues exceeding the standards, followed by basil and long beans (66.7%), Chinese kale (55.6%), Chinese cabbages (33.3%), morning glory (22.2%), tomatoes and cucumbers 11.1%.

However, 100% of the regular cabbage samples were free from harmful residues.

For the fruits, 100% of tested oranges and guava were contaminated with harmful residues exceeding the standards.

Dragon fruit (71.4%), papayas (66.7%) and nam dokmai mangoes (44.4%) were also found to have high residue levels.

Watermelon was free of harmful residues, in line with previous test results done by Mahidol University in 2014.


The network has already presented its test results to modern trade chain stores, the Thai Fresh Market Association, and related government agencies.

The Agricultural and Cooperatives Ministry needs to revamp its operation to ensure credibility in granting its "Q mark" of safety to farmers.

This is according to Kingkorn Narintarakul, deputy director of BioThai, a foundation that promotes sustainable agriculture and food security in various communities across the country.


Tests this year had been widened to cover more substances.

If the test results had been cut to only four main groups, as in 2012, the unsafe percentage of chemical residues would be found in only 18% of tested samples, compared with 48.6% in 2012.

So, there does seem to have been some improvement during the period 2012-2016.

Learn from listening

Click play to listen to audio for this story, or download to save the file
: :


  • accept: to agree to or approve of something - ยอมรับ
  • according to (prep): as stated or reported by somebody/something - ตามคำบอกเล่า, ตามรายงาน
  • agency (noun): a government department that provides a particular service - หน่วยงานราชการ
  • agricultural (adj): of the science or practice of farming - ที่เกี่ยวกับเกษตรกรรม
  • agriculture: the science or practice of farming - เกษตรกรรม, การเกษตร
  • alert: a warning to people to be prepared to deal with something dangerous - การเตือนให้ระวัง
  • association: an official group of people who have joined together for a particular purpose - สมาคม
  • award: to give something to somebody as a prize, payment, etc - มอบให้
  • breakdown (noun): detailed information that you get by studying a set of figures or a collection of data - การวิเคราะห์, การแบ่งออกเป็นส่วน, e.g., การแบ่งตามอายุ
  • bureau: a government organisation - สำนักงาน
  • cabbage: a round vegetable with large green, purplish-red or white leaves that can be eaten raw or cooked - กะหล่ำปลี
  • chain: a group of businesses (restaurants, hotels, etc.) owned by the same company - บริษัทต่างๆที่อยู่ในเครือเดียวกัน
  • commodity: a product or a raw material that can be bought and sold - โภคภัณฑ์
  • contaminate (verb): to make a substance or place dirty or no longer pure by adding a substance that is dangerous or carries disease - แปดเปื้อน, ปนเปื้อน
  • contaminated: made dirty, polluted or poisonous by the addition of a chemical, waste or infection - ปนเปื้อน
  • cooperatives (noun): farms or businesses owned and run by the people involved, with the profits shared by them - สมาคมสหกรณ์
  • coordinator: someone whose job is to organise the various parts of an activity and make sure that all the people involved work well together (used to identify Surasai Katasila, PAD coordinator) - ผู้ประสานงาน
  • cover: include -
  • credibility: the degree to which something can be believed or trusted - ความน่าเชื่อถือ,ความน่าไว้วางใจ
  • ensure: to make certain that something happens or is done - ให้การยืนยัน, รับรอง, ให้ความมั่นใจ
  • examine: to look at somebody/something closely, to see if there is anything wrong or to find the cause of a problem - ตรวจ
  • exceed: to be more than something; to go beyond a limit - เกินกว่าที่กำหนด
  • free (adj.): not having something -
  • fresh market (noun): a market selling fresh vegetables - ตลาดสด
  • grant: to officially give something - ให้
  • harmful: causing damage or injury to somebody/something, especially to a person's health or to the environment - เป็นอันตราย,เป็นภัย
  • in line with: following a rule or system; also in accordance with and consistent with - สอดคล้องกับ
  • level: the amount of something that exists in a particular situation at a particular time - ระดับ
  • mark: a small area on a surface of something - รอย
  • ministry: a government department that has a particular area of responsibility - กระทรวง
  • national (adjective): for the whole country - แห่งชาติ, ของชาติ
  • network: a large system of connected parts, organisations, people, etc. - เครือข่าย
  • notably: especially; that which is most noticeable; to a great degree - อย่างน่าสังเกต, อย่างน่าจดจำ
  • outlet (noun): a shop or place where a particular product is sold - ร้านขายสินค้า, ร้านขายสินค้าจากโรงงาน
  • overall (adj): total; including all the things or people that are involved in a particular situation; general - ทั้งหมด, โดยทั่วไป
  • percentage (noun): an amount divided by 100 - อัตราร้อยละ, จำนวนร้อยละ, อัตราต่อหนึ่งร้อย
  • pesticide: a chemical used for killing insects, especially those that damage crops - ยาฆ่าแมลง
  • popular (adj): a situation in which someone or something is liked by many people - เป็นที่นิยม, เป็นที่ชื่นชอบ
  • previous: happening or existing before the event or object that you are talking about - แต่ก่อน, เมื่อก่อน
  • prohibited (adj): not allowed; to banned - ถูกห้าม
  • promote: to encourage or support something - สนับสนุน
  • quality: the standard of something when it is compared to other things like it; how good or bad something is - คุณภาพ
  • recent: happening or starting a short time ago - เร็วๆ นี้
  • regard: to consider or have an opinion about something or someone - เห็นว่า,ถือว่า
  • residual: amount of somethat remain or are leftover after using it, surplus - ซึ่งเหลืออยู่,
  • residue: a small amount of something that remains at the end of a process - ส่วนที่เหลือ, เศษตกค้าง
  • results (noun): what you get in the end when activity is completed (test results, research results, etc) - ผล
  • revamp: to make a major change or revision to something - ปรับปรุงใหม่
  • sample: a small amount of a substance that is used for scientific or medical tests - ตัวอย่างทดลอง
  • screen: to find out information about people to see if they are suitable for something, at risk of something, etc. - คัดเลือก, แยกออก, เลือกออก
  • security: protection; safety from attack, harm, or damage - ความมั่นคง, ระบบรักษาความปลอดภั, ความปลอดภัย
  • standards: a level of quality that is normal or acceptable for a particular person or in a particular situation - มาตรฐาน, บรรทัดฐาน
  • substance: a particular type of liquid, solid, or gas - สาร
  • survey: to ask a large number of people questions to find out their opinions - สำรวจ
  • sustainable: able to be successfully continued for a long time - ยั่งยืน, ถาวร
  • turn out: to be discovered to be; to prove to be - กลับกลายเป็น
  • watermelon: a big fruit green on outside, red on the inside, that is juicy and watery to eat - แตงโม
  • wet market (noun): the old style outdoor market - ตลาดสด, ตลาดที่ซื้อขายของสด
Do you like the content of this article?